Baby Fights Flesh Eating Bacteria Infection

Maureen Wurtz

OMAHA (KPTM)- A one-year-old baby is fighting off flesh-eating bacteria.

It's an extremely rare disease, there are only about one thousand cases in the United States per year.

The disease isn't contagious, but the little boy's family wants to bring awareness to the disease.

Therahlee Guevara's home is unusually quiet.

"I always complain about up toys. Pick up your toys-but now I want toys all over the floor," said Therahlee.

Her one-year-old son Matthew's chair sits empty in her living room.

That's because he's fighting an infection at Children's Hospital called Necrotizing Fasciitis, or flesh eating bacteria on his groin.

"This is something that a parent shouldn't have to go through," said Therahlee's husband, Cornelio Guevara.

Therahlee and Cornelio are currently splitting time between home and the hospital.

Last Thursday, Matthew wouldn't stop crying.

"I could see it in his eyes that he really wanted to tell me something, explain to me that there's something wrong with me," remembered Cornelio.

"There would be points where he would just start screaming out of nowhere. I could tell he was in a lot of pain," said Therahlee.

Doctor Jessica Snowden specializes in infections diseases. "Classically, what we see is a lot of intense pain. We'll have patients that will actually have more intense pain that they are describing than what we can see on an exam."

The bacteria infects tissues and layers that surround the muscle. The infection develops underneath the skin, so when the bacteria hits the surface, it is extremely critical. "Since it's flesh eating, it's almost like a monster attacking his body," said Therahlee.

Therahlee said they left the hospital in Lincoln on Friday. She said Matthew had a dime size blister. When she arrived in Omaha forty-five minutes later, his blister was the size of a cookie.

"When I realized the severity of it, that was when it was just terrifying," said Therahlee.

In most cases, the disease is found in adults. Doctors have ben cutting away parts of Matthew's skin, it's the only way to treat the infection once it has spread. Matthew has had five surgeries so far.

"The last surgery, where we went in, they happened to not go that far because it started to taper off," said Therahlee.

She said she's gotten support and prayers. "I just tell people, keep storming heaven with prayers because we want to bring him home."

For now, Matthew's favorite toys will stay untouched and Therahlee's living room will stay clean, and quiet.

"I'm grateful for every single day," said Therahlee.

Grateful her baby is a fighter, and hopeful that she'll hear him running around the corner soon.

Matthew is scheduled for another surgery Friday.

The family has set up a fund in Matthew's name.

Donations will go towards helping out with medical expenses and funding research for the disease.

Donations can be made at any Wells Fargo, under 'Matthew Guevara Necrotizing Fasciitis Fund.'